Teachers dismiss call for industry placements


Regular spells of working in industry would help Scottish teachers deliver lessons that are relevant to the real world, according to a report commissioned by the government but greeted with scepticism by teachers.

The study, which says teachers would also be better able to inform pupils what life would be like once they had left school, recommends a range of other measures to help smooth the transition from school to work, college or university.

Compiled by a company in Glasgow called Snook which deals with social change and the public sector, it also calls for pupils’ views to be heard when a school determines its curriculum. Scottish universities and colleges should also tell unsuccessful applicants how they might improve.

“This was an extremely popular option with students who wanted to understand why they hadn’t been successful in attaining a position,” it states.

However, Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said the notion of teachers undertaking other work was not particularly innovative and failed to take into account practical difficulties.

“This report reaches some interesting conclusions but not all of them are particularly practicable or based on the current economic realities facing schools,” he said. 

“Frankly, most teachers reading the report would question the value of it at a time when they are working flat-out to deliver the new school curriculum – a development that isn’t referenced once.

“Many teachers have taken advantage of work placements in the past but these opportunities have dried up recently because of the costs of covering classes.”

A senior policy executive for CBI Scotland, Lauren Paterson, was more positive. “This is something we would be sympathetic towards as it would allow teachers to relate what is happening in the wider world back to pupils.”.

A Universities Scotland spokeswoman said giving feedback to the thousands of students who failed to secure a place each year would be very difficult.

Other ideas in the report include work experience starting in the first year of secondary so that pupils can see better links between the world of work and their subject choices. There would be a mandatory week of taster classes for different subject areas before any choices were made.


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